Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik has told his trial in Oslo he had an “English mentor” who he met during a visit to London in 2002.
Breivik spoke about the meeting on the third day of his trial as he was being questioned about his claims he had contacts with other extremists ahead of the murderous rampage that left 77 people dead.
The 33-year-old said he met four nationalists, including the so-called mentor named “Richard”, describing it as a “founding” session.
He said they were “some of most brilliant political and military tacticians of Europe”.
Breivik was repeatedly confrontational when asked to provide details about the nationalists he says he contacted in Norway and abroad.
“I have told more to police than I wanted to about the networks,” he said. “It is not in my interest to shed light on anything that could lead to other arrests.”
Sky’s Michelle Clifford, reporting from outside court, said the prosecution “are attempting to portray Breivik as something of a fantasist”.
“You could see on his face that he was getting agitated by the prosecution basically saying ‘you are a liar, you are making this up’,” she said.
“You get a very clear sense of the prosecution’s strategy in terms of his assertion of wider links. They are simply trying to portray him as someone making it up.”
Breivik says he is an “ultra-nationalist” and his killing spree was aimed at provoking a culture war to prevent Norwegian culture from being “deconstructed” by a “Marxist and multicultural” elite.
He insists that he is sane and denies that his actions were criminal.
If found sane, Breivik faces a jail term of just 21 years. However, this could then be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society.
If found insane, he could be sentenced to closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.
Breivik said on Wednesday that the court should free him or sentence him to death. He added that he agreed with a lay judge who was removed from the panel for posting on Facebook that he believed Breivik should be put to death.
Breivik said he was too afraid to contact nationalists at home because of the small groups involved and the risk of intelligence officers discovering him. He did, however, make contact with one on the internet by chance.
He claimed that he travelled to Liberia for two or three weeks in 2001 to meet a Serb extremist, inventing cover stories that he was there as a Unicef worker or to buy diamonds.
Breivik described the Serb, who was not named in court, as “a military hero fighting Muslims” but the prosecution said he was a war criminal.
The Serb was one of the four men who took part in the London meeting in April of the following year, Breivik said.
Prosecutors began the day by questioning him about the Knights Templar network, in which Breivik claims to have been a commander of a “one-man cell”.
The prosecution claims that the network does not exist, but Breivik said the name was conceived while in London.
He estimated that it had between 15 and 20 members and described his mentor “Richard” as “a perfect knight”.
Asked about his claims that there were two other Knights Templar cells in Norway, he answered that they were ready stage attacks on Oslo at any time.
Prosecutors, however, said in a news conference at the end of the day that they did not believe there were any more cells
He also said that the 1,500-page manifesto he wrote before the July 22, 2011 attack originated in London.
Parts of the manifesto, referring to his contacts with other nationalists, including planned training courses, were read out in courtroom 250.
Breivik described the document as a “draft” and said that some of the language in it might seem “ridiculous”.
He refused to answer questions about why he had been asked to write the document and whether anyone else had been involved in the draft.
Breivik killed eight people and injured more than 200 in his first attack which targeted Oslo’s government district with a 950kg car bomb.
He then killed 69 people and injured another 33 on the island of Utoya, where the youth wing of the country’s Labour Party was holding its annual summer camp.